Scrutiny into how Governor Andrew Cuomo handled nursing home related COVID-19 deaths has only elevated in the last week or so. Now, legislators are moving to strip him of his emergency powers, the ones that allowed him to make such executive decisions throughout the pandemic.
North Country political expert, Dr. Harvey Schantz predicts how this will play out.
“I see the governor will be chastised a bit, the governor will be more cautious,” Dr. Schantz said. “The best solution would be for the emergency powers to be curtailed and narrowed, but the governor, I believe, has discretion as governor to deal with emergencies as they come up.”
Schantz noted this would really just be a slap on the wrist for Cuomo, as those emergency powers are set to expire in April anyway. There has been a shift in public perception, too. Cuomo was looked to as a prominent voice during this crisis, but now even democrats are calling for him to step down or be removed from office. Schantz says only one governor was ever removed from office in New York state.
“There is a provision for impeachment in New York state,” he said. “But it’s unlikely that you would get a majority of the assembly and two thirds of the senate, plus the court of appeals.”
Schantz says he does believe this will impact Cuomo’s political prospects as he seeks a fourth term in 2022. North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik released a statement Wednesday supporting the removal of his emergency powers saying in part:
“I have said from the beginning this is more than a nursing home scandal , this is a criminal cover up corruption scandal at the highest level. It is a critical step toward answers for the thousands of grieving families who lost loved ones. The state senate and assembly should immediately issue subpoenas to the governor and his senior staff.”